Don’t look now, but there’s a Bear in your Tavern

Birthdays are often wonderful, especially when they are filled with delicious food.  And boy, did I have a foodie birthday this year!  Let’s start with my actual birthday eve, last night, at the Capital Grille.  With impeccable attention to detail and making special occasions as special as can be, they started with a card and confetti:

happy birthday

So festive!

They also brought out bubbly, which paired nicely with our (not pictured) oysters:

champagne

Making a girl feel special

And finished off with a dessert plate, which our server Michael customized for me upon overhearing me mention I hate cheesecake (which I do, don’t judge me):

happy birthday dessert

So instead, we were served my very favorite coconut creme pie.  Which is tart, salty, sweet, smothered in hand made whipped cream, and perfectly decadent

That’s just the level of consideration and attention to detail that can be expected at the Capital Grille.

IIn addition to the glorious celebration dinner listed above, I was fortunate enough to finally attend a Bears Smokehouse and Millwrights pop up dinner in the Millwrights Tavern on Monday night.  This will be a ‘thing’ every Monday night for the forseable future, and it involves taking Bear’s glorious BBQ and giving it a high end twist with Tyler Anderson’s signature cooking style.  Behold: “The Cook and the Bear”

rum cocktail millwrights

Behold also my Sloe Gin Fizz (sloe gin, lemon, and soda)- Chris Parrot never disappoints

The menu is divided into small plates (priced at $4) salads (priced at $8) proteins ‘from the smoker’ (at $6.50) sandwiches ($10.50), sides (also $4), and sweet stuff, aka dessert ($6).  It’s quite affordable and, well, let’s just look at some food porn shall we?

cocktail and pickles at millwrights

Tyler always makes a good pickle.  It helps that he works with the Community Farm at Simsbury and always sources fresh and local.  Also pictured: a “Dirty Holiday” cocktail (tequila, coconut, pineapple, and lime)

corn on the cob at millwrights

Grilled corn with the flavors of Greek salad.  Like Mexican style corn, this is drizzled and drenched in decadent toppings.  It’s, quite obviously, corn season, so the best time of the year to be eating the stuff anyway.  Tyler’s preparation of it is very signature of his style – a simple vegetable dish elevated with masterful flavors and a twist on a traditional technique. 

beet salad

It might seem difficult to order a salad when there’s so much meaty BBQ to be had – but get your dang salad.  It’s good for you – pictured is the: “smoked beets, ricotta, and walnut pesto.”  The beets packed flavor and texture and the citrusy, earthy flavors balanced nicely against the creamy cheese sauce.

ribs and mac and cheese at millwrights

You should still get BBQ.  Obviously.  Pictured: baby back ribs, baked beans, and mac & cheese with chicken cracklings.  Of all the things on this plate, the mac and cheese really sang to my soul.  In the way that only creamy cheese and crunchy chicken cracklings do

brisket sandwich at millwrights

The burnt ends sandwich – with the flavors of french onion soup.  It was difficult for me not to order this one for myself.  Burnt ends – the fatty, juicy ends of the brisket – are my favorite item to order at Bears Smokehouse.  But I restrained myself and will get it next time, because I simply, absolutely needed this:

best chicken sandwich at millwrights

The nashville hot chicken sandwich, iceberg, pickles.  Also known as the chicken sandwich against which all others will now be judged and found wanting.  Sorry Chick Fil A.  I don’t need you or your bigot chicken anymore.  I’ll take this local, better version instead.  And pair it with a nice Maine “Baxter” IPA.

The cozy Millwright’s Tavern is a perfect back drop for a decadent BBQ dinner – moving into the fall, this will be epically good comfort food.  Please go, check it out, and enjoy.  It’s a unique local collaboration which we are very fortunate to have here.

A Grand Tour of Wines with the Generous Pour @TheCapitalGrille + Breakdancing Hamlet

row of wine glasses

I get really excited about wine.  I get really excited about Shakespeare.  This post examines both – be prepared, my friends

vinted vogue shot

Bonus: I’m writing this from Vinted – where they serve up half price bottles of wine on Sunday evenings.  Having the Blue Back Square as your back yard carries its advantages.

Why is there a Vogue magazine in the above shot?  Why, because I was entranced with a story on a new musical, Hamiltonwhich sets the story of one of Founding Father’s to a hip hop soundtrack.  This is pretty rad in and of itself, but it ties nicely to what would appear to be a new theatrical trend in the works – as our very own Hartford Stage has a very limited run Breakdancing Shakespeare: Hamlet tonight, and through August 11th at the University of St. Joseph!  The project has existed for several years through the Greater Hartford Arts Council Neighborhood Studios, and it inspires to bring classical works to people of all ages through an infusion of relevant coolness and creativity.  More info and tickets available here.  Can’t wait.

Now, on to the main course of this post (pun intended) the magnificent Generous Pour at the Capital Grille.  I was invited to attend for the second year in a row with Carolyn, who joined me last year also:

carolyn with wine

This picture is from last year.  It’s magnificent and also a very accurate depiction of our friendship.  From here on out – photo credit for all pictures goes to Carolyn

The Generous Pour is an annual event at the Capital Grille.  It is running now through August 30th, and the concept is simple: sample eight exceptional wines (generous samples, as you can see from above) for $28 with the purchase of an entree.  We happened to time our visit with their Taste of Hartford menu, which unfortunately has come and gone for this year, but it’s still well, well worth the visit in order to dive, nose first, into some truly exceptional blends:

row of wine glasses

 

Behold all the beauties.

The wines ranged from lightest (Sauvignon Blanc) to deepest (Syrah)… here are some highlights from each and every glass:

Galarie “Naissance,” Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley (Winemaker: Laura Diaz Munoz): A light and bright wine, with a very thin mouthfeel but a smooth and creamy finish.  Fruity and perfect for summer sipping.  I tend to gravitate more towards New Zealand Sauv Blancs, but it’s lovely to find the hand picked all stars from Napa, which featured very heavily on this list.

Barrymore, Montery, Pinot Grigiot (Proprietress: Drew Barrymore): Whoa.  I didn’t know Drew Barrymore had a vineyard.  Talk about a class act.  And her wine matches her reputation – summery, citrusy, tart, described as a “crowd pleaser,” – just like Drew! – and very able to live up to the name.  I have bad, bad associations with Pinot – think a warm oversized bottle, diluted by ice cubes to the point where it’s just not worth the effort drinking it.  But this wine reminded me why it’s important to keep an open mind – and palate – when it comes to blends.

Stonestreet “Bear Point,” Alexander Valley, Chardonnay (Winemaker: Lisa Valtenbergs): Again, another thin mouthfeel (makes me believe that the sommelier had an eye out for summery blends when creating this list), with lots of spice, and a very classic take on the ‘big Cali’ Chardonnay style – lots of personality and lots of oak.  Would and did pair quite nicely with food – but more on that in a minute.

kat with wine glasses

Let’s break here for a picture of me in my “happy place” 

On to the reds:

Cambria “Julia’s Vineyard,” Santa Maria Valley, Pinot Noir (Winemaker: Denise Shurtleff): I love, love a good Pinot.  It’s a rich, complex, moody complicated wine which is disastrous when executed poorly but oh so good when it’s done right.  And this particular blend’s grapes all come from the vineyard – a rarity, and every single one of them came together to create a truly delightful wine.  A mouth load of poppy and cherry, and a nice mineral quality to finish which made me want to close my eyes and picture myself at the vineyard (wouldn’t that be lovely).

Matanzas Creek, Sonoma, Merlot (Winemaker: Marcia Monohan): I’m planning a visit to see my sister in November, and she is considerate enough to live in San Francisco, which means we’ll be paying a trip to Sonoma as well as eating the finest Mexican food outside of Mexico (hello, Mission District).  This vineyard may be worth a visit, with a nice chocolatey palate to the merlot, balancing out some dark fruit flavors nicely into a well rounded blend.  If you’re drinking this at the Capital Grille – and why wouldn’t you?  Do yourself a favor and pair it with a steak.  A very happy companionship that would be.

Arrowood Reserve Speciale, Sonoma, Cabernet Sauvignon (Winemaker: Kristina Werner): Not familiar with Cabernet Sauvignons?  I was not personally, but it’s a nice, relatively new combination of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, and it’s easy to grow and a crowd pleaser.  This particular variety is, however, quite rare and also accordingly expensive.  The vineyard it resides in (another Sonoma – hurrah) has century old vines, and this particular blend only pops up occasionally on wine lists due to its limited quantities.  Flavor wise, it’s just a really nice, classically executed Big Cali red.  If you’re into that sort of thing like I am, it’s not one to miss.

Mt Brave, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon (Winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz): The second wine from Ms. Munoz on the list as well as the second and only repetitious blend, this ruggedly beautiful red has deep crunchy notes, big red flavor, and an explosively smooth palate.  It packs quite a punch and will take you nicely into your flourless chocolate cake if you choose to partake in that – but more on dessert in a minute.

Kinton, Santa Barbara, Syrah (Wine visionary: Julia Jackson): With a list like this, it’s important to end on a high note.  This magnificent Syrah delivers a smooth, cherry, vanilla visionary taste with a very creamy palate and delicate balance of flavors.  A special vintage year, this Syrah finished off our tasting in excellent style.

wedge salad

Oh yes – in addition to the wine, the Capital Grille spoiled us with food.  The “Taste of Hartford” pre fixe menu is available during two weeks in the summer and the winter, so watch out for January’s cycle at www.tastehartford.com.  My meal started with the above pictured Bleu Cheese and Applewood Smoked Bacon Wedge

burger and truffle fries

Closely followed by this magnificent burger the “Chef’s Signature” Cheeseburger and parmesan truffle fries.  I can’t say enough about the Capital Grille burgers.  When you’re somewhere that loves and pays such close attention to beef, the results are going to be superb, and this one was no exception.  My only complaint – a dried out bun, but considering we ordered off the lunch menu at 3 pm, when the kitchen was switching over to dinner, I think this small fault is justified.

flourless chocolate cake capital grille

To end things: Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake.  I’m not an expert so I won’t say that these flavors are a perfect accompaniment to the deep reds at the end of the Generous Pour, but the flavor notes in most reds were present on this dish, and I certainly enjoyed putting the two together.

All in all, we enjoyed a very magnificent meal and lovely patio seating al fresco, enjoying the downtown hustle and bustle of Front Street.  Thanks again to the Capital Grille for their hospitality and excellent service, as always.  So go, try this list, before it runs out at the end of the month.

“Scales, Shells & Steak” with Chef Billy Grant at Rose’s Berry Farm

IMG_0184

Farm to Table is not a trend.  It’s not an artisanal burger, a kale garnish, a terrifying insistence on not using plates (which is more of a European phenomena, thankfully, at least for now…) – the point I am making is – it’s not a passing foodie phase.  Not that there’s anything wrong with foodie trends, executed correctly – I love a good gourmet burger personally.  But Farm to Table is much more than that.  It’s a lifestyle, and it’s also nothing new.

Farmers have always known that the best of foods are the ones you grow yourself, with love, on a place where you know the land.  And CT chefs have been tapping into our rich terrain for the same reasons – because food tastes better when it’s fresh and grown with love, and when you eat it outdoors in the summer, it’s a magical experience.

Having attended several Max chef to farm dinners over the years, I was very, very excited to have been invited to attend the “Scales Shells & Steak” pop up dinner at Rose’s Berry Farm.

I attended with my good friend Amanda, who I knew would love it as we had visited Grant’s for her birthday earlier this year.

photo-26

We met some great people at our communal table also!

Chef Billy Grant has long been one of my favorites in the area – I interviewed him back in the day for ct.com when it was the Advocate’s website, and he has been the long time driving force behind Share Our Strength ever year

11755077_10101141728204655_6544651577245888304_n

Plus, he likes the selfie

This was also my first trip to Rose’s Berry Farm, but I will most certainly return with Penelope soon – it’s a gorgeous, large, lush farm, with a great playground space and lots of pick your own options that are very family friendly!

Our dinner started out with a decadent array of appetizers on a pretty table scape with fresh flowers:

IMG_0184

Among the offerings: BBQ Oysters, fresh local berries, arancini, mussels, and much more!

There was also a tasty raw bar and plenty of smaller passed appetizers – the mini lobster rolls were my favorite.  Amanda and I both sampled, and enjoyed, the signature 44 North Vodka berry lemonade before switching to wine (hello unlimited sparkling rose – I was happy not to be driving).  The wine pairings were en pointe with the food offerings and, like the appetizers, the very friendly staff was pouring with a heavy hand throughout the evening.

On to the mains:

IMG_0183

Chilled Tomato Gazpacho (watermelon, pickled cucumber, avocado, and cilantro)

Although undoubtably a very wise choice for a hot, beautiful summer evening, this was my least favorite item of the evening.  I think that was due to the watermelon and cilantro combo – I like watermelon, and I’m “ok” with cilantro, but I think the herb tends to lend itself better to spicier, heavier foods and would have preferred basil instead.  Having said that, I was in the opinionated minority on this dish, as the rest of the table really enjoyed it and vociferously said as much whilst eating it.

squid ink pasta

Housemade Black Cavatelli Pasta (Octopus, sepia, scungilli, nduja, green olives, spicy tomato, and toasted breadcrumbs)

Good heavens yes.  This involved two of my favorite things to eat: black pasta and octopus.  The dreamy cavatelli’s texture balanced perfectly against the well executed octopus, with the breadcrumbs providing JUST the right amount of contrasting crunch to make this dish delectable.  I would love another large bowl of it, right now, as I am writing this.

IMG_0182

The main attraction: Smoked Prime Rib of Beef (local corn, zucchini and summer bean salad, red wine glazed cipollini onions & horseradish gremolata)

Continuing with the BBQ motif touched on by the oysters appetizer, the prime rib had a trace of smokey BBQ flavor, enhanced by the thick, sweet au jus which accompanied it.  To be honest, the star of this dish was the fresh corn and vegetables – again accentuating the beauty of farm to table fare in the amount of honest and startlingly clear flavor in each and every bite.  The staff thoughtfully handed out to go boxes at the end of this course, as the previous courses and enormous appetizer array had decimated quite a few people’s appetites (my own included).  Amanda took the leftovers home from both of us for prime rib omelettes the next day for her family – genius!

IMG_0180

Last, but certainly not least: Pistachio Cake (mascarpone sorbet & Rose’s Berry Farm fresh blueberries)

I’m not a huge dessert person – give me a good cheese plate almost any day to finish off a meal.  But this pound cake aroused me from my food coma and piqued my palate enough that I finished off the entire plate (if you’d asked me before I tasted it, I would have said such a thing was impossible – but it was just that good).  A very healthy dosage of lemon zest kept the cake from being too sweet, and the just-picked fresh local berries were bursting with ripe summery goodness.  A great showcase, again, for the local produce at Rose’s, and a wonderful way to finish the meal.

Thanks again to Chef Billy Grant, along with his Chefs de Cuisine, Corey Cannon (Bricco Trattoria) and Eric Sass (Grants) for a truly phenomenal meal.  Be sure to follow them on Instagram @briccotrattoria, @grantsrestaurat, and @restaurantbriccowh for more gorgeous food shots, and of course, tag your own when you go!  And you should, often.

IMG_0179

I’m concluding with this lovely montage shot for the evening, courtesy of Bricco West Hartford’s Instagram

Mini vacations to @SeaCrestCapeCod and all the mixology at the annual @faithwnpr Martini Competition!

unnamed-19

Summer is in full swing – well not today – today it’s cool, cloudy, and spitting little rain drops (thanks New England).  But in general, the apex of the warm weather is upon us!  Today’s post recaps my recent trip with Carolyn to one of her family’s favorite seaside resorts – now one of my favorites too – as well as one of the best mixology events of the year – the annual Faith Middleton Food Schmooze Martini Competition. But first – a preview of fun things to come:

photo-19

I met this lovely lady – Caitlin – and her penguin friend – at the Travelers Championship mini-golf tourney for charity.  She and I will be connecting this summer to bring Penelope to the Mystic Aquarium for a behind the scenes tour of the fishies.  Very exciting.

unnamed-32

Penelope and I also enjoyed a lovely Farm to Table brunch over the weekend Clark Hill Farms in Granby!  We will be returning shortly to pick blueberries, and I’ll be recapping our experience – along with the the upcoming Scales, Shells & Steak dinner by renowned Chef Billy Grant at Rose’s Berry Farm on July 17th!  Tickets are available here.  

‘Tis truly the season to eat local.

‘Tis also the season to take mini trips to the Cape!  The beauty of Connecticut is that it’s really, really tiny – and easy to drive from one state to the other.  Carolyn and I took off for the Sea Crest Beach Hotel on a whim several weeks ago, when we realized that our only chances for a girls’ vacation lay in taking our trip ASAP, before the summer became any busier:

photo-22

Yes, we changed into vintage swimsuits just for cocktail hour.  We’re ridiculous like that.

The Sea Crest is not your typical Cape Cod resort, and that’s a good thing.  For starters, it’s not embedded in rustic woods – just straight up waterfront, powdery white sands, and of course, the glassy smooth perfection of Cape Cod oceanfront.  In addition, it’s located on an inlet, which means that you can watch the sunset over the water – a rare treat on the East coast. They also feature onsite dining:

unnamed-27

Sometimes I’ll order something other than raw oysters.  But – actually, no that never happens

As well as beach side drinks service:

unnamed-30

Drinks on the deck!

unnamed-31

Drinks to go with your dino mag!

unnamed-26

Drinks for everyone!  No movement required!  Side note: both of my swim suits are from Venom Vintage

I’m looking forward to returning to the Sea Crest this fall for my first ever half marathon – The Zooma Cape Cod -which I agreed to in a moment of manhattan infused madness at the Glastonbury Strawberry Moon Festival with Caitlin!  My training is under way – very slowly this week as I’m recovering from illness, but slowly but surely picking up.  At least the gorgeous ocean front setting is a good motivation to stick with it!

So, off the beach and on to the cocktail competition!  As aforementioned, the Faith Middleton Food Schmooze Martini Competition is one of my very favorite events of the year.  Faith’s cooking show  on WNPR is a must listen whilst zipping around the city on weekday afternoons – she combines thoughtful repartee on all things food related (often joined by the talented and funny Chris Prosperi) as well as a variety of eclectic topics.  But, if food is King of the Food Schmooze show, the martini is Queen – and the annual martini competition showcases some of the finest mixology from around the state:

unnamed-2

Let’s start with my personal favorite libation, from personal favorite mixologist David Brogan, aka @signaturedavid.  He combined Wild Moon Chai Spice Liqueur, Blanco Tequila, RIPE Agave Margarita Bar Mix, Strawberry rhubarb simple syrup and Cointreau for his “Summer Spice” cocktail.  It was a perfect balance of bitter, spicy, and saucy – truly refreshing and definitely worth recreating at home!

Other notable favorites included:

unnamed-11

“Sunshine and London” courtesy of On20 – a very berry blend of Strawberry Shrub, gin, watermelon, and basil.  Side note: shrubs are ridiculously easy to make at home and a great way to use up local, seasonal fruit.  

unnamed-1

I’m subbing the picture of the Plan B cocktail with this ridiculously cute image from their Marketing Manager, Rachel’s Instagram account – but they made a “Cherry Picker” Bench Mark Bourbon infused with cherries – naturally – egg white foam, and vinegar.  Like the shrub in On20, the vinegar adds a nice sour touch to what could otherwise be an overly sweet libation.  That’s how you know you’re dealing with cocktail experts

unnamed-16

Never failing to please, Max Burger‘s cocktail, the “BRB” was a summery mix of: agave nectar, fresh basil, muddled raspberries, sour mix, bourbon, and black walnut bitters

unnamed-19

A “Luscious Garden” courtesy of the Half Door:  Jameson, sage, and blackberry infused syrup, lemon juice, and bitters

unnamed-13

“Cucumber Honeyrita-tini” courtesy of Flipside: Cucumber, triple sec, tequila, honey, and lime juice

unnamed-18

A very beachy libation from the Doubletree by Hilton in Bristol, the “Slim Shady:” Grapefruit vodka, white lemon juice, grapefruit bitters, and St Germain

unnamed-21

My favorite presentation of the evening: a smoked blueberry infused moonshine with honey bacon spiced rim courtesy of Bear’s Smokehouse.  They currently only serve beer and wine, but if this is what we have to look forward to for future cocktails, well dang.  Just another reason to go there…. often

unnamed-12

A spicy cocktail and cookie combo from Firebox, the “High Cooler:” St George Green Chile Vodka, fresh pressed watermelon juice, lime juice, and lime zest, with a pistachio chipotle meringue

unnamed-22

Diner style presentation and flair (naturally) from Blue Plate Kitchen, who presented the “Honey Green Tea-ni:” Rime organic vodka, infused meyer lemon simple syrup, and green tea

Many, many thanks to WNPR for hooking myself and a guest up with two passes to this awesome event:

unnamed-20

Pictured here hand modeling a very yummy shrimp and frozen gazpacho amuse bouche from Tisane (who also killed the cocktail game with their Hendricks Gin (yum), yellow watermelon juice, cucumber, lime, and ginger simple syrup cocktail

One of the notable pitfalls with this type of an evening is that it’s virtually impossible (for me, at least) to sample everything.  So although I did vote for my favorite:

unnamed-25

And received my sticker, thank you very much

I ultimately did NOT try the winner cocktail (shucks) – but congrats to Infinity Hall and Bistro for their “Lime in the Coconut” cocktail which took first place!  And kudos to the DoubleTree and Max Burger for their respective second and their place wins.  I have so much inspiration for summer cocktails now – starting with making a local blueberry shrub, once Penelope and I go blueberry picking next week.

Brunch for Babies with the @MarchofDimesCT

photo-16

June is a fabulous, busy, buzzy, wonderful month.  The weather is perfect – there are multiple events to attend, inside and out, really everything is quite exceptional.  Here’s a quick preview of some choice happenings I’m looking forward to in the upcoming weeks:

CT Music Awards (that was last night! the results are here!)

Hartford Magazine Best of Party (fancy fancy)

Farm to Street Dinner, (a giant potluck with some of Hartford’s finest, as well as Jeff Lizotte of On20 – who we will also be visiting for Happy Hour and I will be blogging about)

Talcott Mountain Music Festival (one of my favorite events of the year)

But first and foremost: a recap of the “Brunch for Babies,” hosted by the March of Dimes Connecticut at the Riverview in Simsbury!

photo-3

The March of Dimes mission: to improve the health and livelihood of babies everywhere!

Leigh-Anne Lefurge – the March of Dimes Communications Manager, was gracious enough to invite myself and my friend Amanda to attend this beautiful brunch:

photo-18

Thanks Leigh-Ann!  Awesome working with you as always

In keeping with their tradition, the “Brunch for Babies” featured famed New England author Elin Hildebrand, “the queen of the summer novel.”

photo-6

So talented yet also so stylish!

In addition to Elin signing books, the preview to the main event featured a pretty sweet silent auction:

photo-14

Mommy’s Time Out?  Yes, I’ll have some of that

photo-15

Plus these pretty rad bell bracelets.  Which I won!  And promptly wore to the Seacrest Beach Hotel (check name) with my friend Carolyn.  More to come on our adventures soon!

There were also plenty of food stations to browse and brunch through.  The March of Dimes does a great job with keeping their events light and fun with a variety of food options to circulate through, versus a sit down, formal brunch (the excellent Signature Chef’s Auction in the fall offers a similar feel and menu).

photo-13

Apple Mote Cristos and Watermelon Gazpacho – courtesy of the Riverview

photo-12

Always good to see the lovely Cheryl of Bear’s Smokehouse!  Carving up and serving some melt in your mouth smoked turkey

photo-4

And one of my absolute favorite “hidden gems,” the Grass Roots Creamery of Granby!  Serving “Humphry Slocombe” style gelato, they offer a variety of unique flavors.  My favorite (pictured) the Biscoff

The brunch was hosted by our very own Sarah Cody, host of FOX Connecticut’s travel series, in addition to the excellent “Mommy Minute” blog.

photo-11

She introduced the March of Dimes’ inspirational “Mom of the Year” Lisa Millerick: a mom of four NICU children, March of Dimes volunteer, and an affiliated children’s photographer for “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.”

photo-7

Pictured here accepting her very well deserved honor

We were also given the chance to donate directly to the March of Dimes cause, via table cards and hand knitted preemie hats which were then given to local intensive care units:

photo-16

So adorable

The March of Dimes is truly a worthy cause and, as a mother, so near and dear to my heart.  I was blessed to have carried Penelope healthy and to term, but many women aren’t so lucky – and there is always something that may be done to improve the health and well being of newborn babies and their mommas!  Please consider donating to this great cause, joining their March for Babies, or attending the Signature Chef Auction in the fall.  The babies thank you!

A Movement for Change with Kristin Taekman and Brunch for Babies with @MarchofDimesCT

Charity suffers long, and is kind (1st Corinthians 13:4)

In other words – “charity” is just another word for “love.”  People give because they love those who need help, they love to help others, or they love to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

unnamed-2

Take the March of Dimes CT “Mom of the Year,” Lisa Millerick for example.  She has four children, all of who were born prematurely, and is a NICU Nurse to boot.  If that wasn’t enough, she also specializing in children portraits for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep – which helps to give portraits of children who pass away too soon to their grieving families.

That’s a whole lotta love right there.

The March of Dimes CT will host its annual Brunch for Babies on June 6th, at the Riverview in Simsbury.  I’ll be honored to attend and meet Lisa, as well as acclaimed author Elin Hildebrand.  If you would like to join and support a great cause, you can purchase tickets here.

I was fortunate enough to attend another great charity event several weeks ago the DeFilippo “Movement for Change,” raising funds to help families of those impacted by spinal chord injuries and celebrating their many achievements.

C3Qg5aKRhCrAhjYzF3RVP2aP74JgWQZo5oWnh2pCDrM-1

Lot of beautiful families and equally beautiful stories.  All photos by Elisa E- you can find her website and more of her work here

The event featured a great host – Kristin Taekman of the Real Housewives of New York.  I’ll proudly admit that I’m a RHONY fan (ok, maybe “proud” is not the best word)… and Kristin is my favorite on the show.  It’s always nice to discover that someone is as nice and down to earth in person as they appear on television.  Plus – she has a very chic blog – check it out here!

NNhq4rHO1yVuVT7vkG-IKXAq6somtMJNkVumNsUXw-w

With Kristin and Carolyn Paine on the red carpet.  Not pictured but also present – my friend Diane Taha of Style Context

Carolyn also choreographed and performed and original piece symbolizing the strength and fragility of those impacted by spinal chord injuries

T-3YvmfzRI6V96TJnLpHNkF5AqIpzuXt1OAKjRkP8Wc-1

Simply gorgeous

Just as gorgeous – the four tiered fashion show featuring the work of designer Karo Swim Wear

FvKwx1KtvJjs-m4uS2TPj6RRGYjrIYowNOqYQXLYB5o

Sexy and fierce

A sweet collection of Spring pieces curated from the vintage collections of my good friend Laree Salmon of Vintage Chic by Design

g-vXLF8TkeP02NNFAhNr1RsPGRpBRxqmPdcrUxOTGnA-1

Polka dots for days

The ethereal work of well known local designer, Nigel Ramsay

Bwc1LXmtMu_MZrCNpOykjlpco4Tu3hg5SJTNuRyyzlo-1

Stunning and flowing

And to finalize the show, a final collection of vibrant floral hues, “Always Bloomin” – to celebrate the energy and vibrancy of those who thrive in the face of adversary

xERewQi7f1INjTgwqCuM9DMcRLPdRtksIPkYnWcmZ4Y-1

A pretty way to finish the show

I’m blessed to be involved with so many local causes for good.  Please consider researching them more and supporting all the amazing local artists who give their time and talents to help them raise the funds they need to do good work.

Adventures with Penelope!

When skies are gloomy and clouds are grey – a two year old will brighten your day!  So goes the saying (which I clearly just engendered) but it’s quite true.  No matter what else is going on in my world, Penelope is the best and brightest thing in it.  And we have had some wonderful mommy/daughter dates over the past couple of weeks.

Including:

photo-42

Seeing Gwendolyn and the Graceful Pig as part of the Ballet Theater Company’s Spring Repertory Performance!

photo-41

Thank you Roman for the tickets!

photo-40

This VERY family friendly ballet included a nice kiosk of toys in the lobby – P scored a toy pig, which came in handy as there were three different performances, with two traditional ballets leading up to “Gwendolyn” which was narrated live by the author, David Rottenberg

BTC-15-235

Leading up to the main act was Peer Gynt, a darkly humorous Norwegian piece exploring the woodland fantasies of the titular character.

BTC-15-332

Alas, we didn’t find out if Gwendolyn learned to dance or not, as P’s tiny attention span ran out.  So we shall have to buy and read the book and, of course, attend next year, when she is just a little older and less wiggly!  Can’t wait to start P in ballet classes also, she is very into it and the Ballet Theater Company is very conveniently close by our house, with lots of summer programs to offer.  Fun times ahead.

In addition to fun at the ballet, P also had her first hair cut!

photo-34

We went to Snip-its in Canton and they did a wonderful job – complete with bubbles and a prize at the end.  Not a traumatizing experience for anyone (except, perhaps, Mommy).

In addition, we also went hunting for faeries at the Bellamay-Ferriday House and Garden in Bethlehem, CT.

photo-38

P was understandably upset at not finding any faeries, but considering we went in the middle of the day and they were all napping, it was quite understandable.  We also packed a picnic and ate outside, and we will be returning next weekend for the official Fairy Festival (May 16th) which includes pony rides and other fun happenings!

photo-39

One of the faerie houses on display, which will be judged next weekend with a prize for the best one.

And then, of course, there was Mother’s Day.  For Mother’s Day, I decided to do a day full of things that SHE would enjoy, as that’s what equally makes me happy – plus as a working Mom I can never get enough fun activity days with my Little (I may have also treated myself to a J Crew necklace and matching earrings on sale when we were in Canton – plus Mason jar flowers from Whole Foods – but hey, these things happen)

We started out at the American Girl Store in Natick, MA for brunch

photo-45

 

Yes, that’s a tiny high chair for the dolly.  And P and the dolly are wearing matching tops.  It’s all so cute I could barely stand it.  P had an awesome time, and the pancakes were nice and fluffy, the staff was friendly – the only thing that was less than desirable was the coffee – next time we go I might smuggle in my own cold brew or French press coz I’m picky when it comes to my coffee.

 

photo-46

 

Dessert at the end of the meal – a flower pot full of “dirt” aka chocolate pudding with crumbled cookies and sugar cookies on the side.  What an adorable idea for a little girls’ party!  I may steal it.

After brunch, we headed up to the Boston’s Children’s Museum, which is five full floors of delightful activities for littles.  P has been before, and this trip she was able to enjoy even more activities – which she will continue to grow into as she gets older.

photo-43

The bubble room was a big hit

photo-44

 

As was the construction zone.  Wearing a hard hat and safety vest because safety is important.

I am so blessed to have such a delightful, wonderful little daughter.  And I’m excited to see my own Mom in a couple weeks when we head down to Florida together!  I hope everyone else had a wonderful Mother’s Day too – and thanks as always for reading!